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U.S. Citizen Services
Travel and Visas to Australia

All non-Australian citizens traveling to Australia require a visa or visas waiver issued by the Australian Government. For information on immigration requirements for Australia, please refer to the information on the Australian Department of Home Affairs website.

If you have experienced issues applying for an Australian visa, or wish to follow up on the status of an application, you will need to contact Australian Home Affairs for assistance. The U.S. Consulates cannot access Australian Immigration records, and are unable to assist with these inquiries. If you are currently outside Australia, please contact your nearest Australian Embassy or Consulate.

Denied entry to Australia

General Entry Information

Although the vast majority of U.S. citizens who travel to Australia with a visa or visa-waiver are admitted without incident, Australian authorities have the right and responsibility for enforcing their laws. As a result not everyone who arrives in Australia is permitted to enter. When travelers are refused entry, the Australian authorities usually order them returned to the airport from which they last departed, or return them to the United States. The U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Australia are unable to intervene on your behalf if you are denied entry into Australia, and we cannot attempt to influence the Australian Government’s decision.

What to expect if denied entry to Australia 

If you are denied entry into Australia, you will be held at the airport until arrangements can be made to return you to the United States or another country where you hold a valid visa to reside. You are not under arrest – you are simply not eligible to enter Australia on this visit.

You will generally be removed from Australia on the next available flight offered by your carrier.  However, in cases where you would have a long wait for your return flight, Australian Immigration may put you in a temporary detention center until a suitable flight is available. Conditions in the detention center are comfortable and you will be given food and water, and access to a telephone and medical treatment if necessary.

What to do if you are denied entry to Australia

Stay calm.  Do not attempt to dispute the official’s decision – once you have been found inadmissible, you will not be permitted to enter. Inform Australian authorities if you have any medical condition, or are in need of medical treatment.

Listen, and ask why you were not admitted. Be sure you clearly understand what you will need to do the next time you intend to travel to Australia. Ask for documentation of the refusal as you may require it if you need to apply for an Australian visa.

Active Duty military members visiting Australia

Current members of the U.S. military should contact the Defense Attaché Office (DAO) at the U.S. Embassy in Canberra for all military travel inquiries, including R&R. The ACS units at the U.S. Consulates cannot assist you. Always use your official email when corresponding with the DAO. Do not use personal emails, as these are regularly classified as junk email, and will not be responded to.

Responses to common inquiries:

  • When applying for a visa/visa-waiver to Australia, use your current U.S. address. Do not use your APO/DPO address, or your address where you are currently stationed.
  • APACS clearances are processed based on date of travel, not date of application. To follow up on an APACS clearance, contact the DAO at the U.S. Embassy in Canberra.